Righteous and Sinful Morals in McCarthy's "The Road" Research Paper

Righteous and Sinful Morals in McCarthy's "The Road"
An exploration of good versus evil in Cormac McCarthy's "The Road."
# 154007 | 1,410 words | 3 sources | 2014 | CA
Published on Sep 11, 2014 in English (General) , Literature (General) , Ethics (General)

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From the Paper:

"Disaster left the world in ruins, leaving most of the remaining society consumed by evil. In a world where individuals are fighting for survival, "acts of brutality in defense against terror" (Cooper 234) are justified in the minds of those desperate enough. People on the road are divided into being good or bad, being "differentiable from one another by what they do" (Kunsa 5). The "bad guys" (McCarthy 103) are defined by their destructive and unethical acts of inhumanity, acting out of desperation and not considering the immoral tendencies of their adapted way of living. Resorting to cannibalism, the 'bad guys' lack any moral or ethical code: "Huddled against the back wall were naked people, male and female, all trying to hide, shielding their faces with their hands. On the mattress lay a man with his legs gone to the hip and the stumps of them blackened and burnt. The smell was hideous" (McCarthy 110). With society completely in shambles, there are no laws, constitutional or ethical, for people to abide by. This causes many of the survivors to resort to very primitive ways of living - living like animals. Their choice of using humans as livestock is barbaric, being unfeelingly responsible for "a charred human infant headless and gutted and blackening on the spit" (McCarthy 198). This behavior "devastate[s] the moral identity of the society making those decisions" (Cooper 234). The imagery used in The Road further emphasizes the struggle survivors face: "The ash coating the world, then, provides a visual metaphor for the coalesced suffering of the dying species" (Cooper 227). The environment itself is an evil, covered with ash and a barren landscape. It reflects the anguish the survivors face and highlights the instinctive need to abandon humanity to remain alive. McCarthy also chooses to allow his characters to remain anonymously unnamed. The only character that possesses a name is Ely, a blind traveler the man and boy encounter along the road. Ely admits that Ely is not his actual name and refuses to give the man and the boy very much information. It can be concluded that "without a "real" name, Ely cannot be held responsible for his words and deeds" (Kunsa 4). Choosing to reject moral standards becomes an easy choice in a world full of anguish."

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Righteous and Sinful Morals in McCarthy's "The Road" (2014, September 11) Retrieved March 29, 2023, from https://www.academon.com/research-paper/righteous-and-sinful-morals-in-mccarthy-the-road-154007/

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"Righteous and Sinful Morals in McCarthy's "The Road"" 11 September 2014. Web. 29 March. 2023. <https://www.academon.com/research-paper/righteous-and-sinful-morals-in-mccarthy-the-road-154007/>